Is Anyone Familiar with the Japanese Children’s Song called “Aka Tombo” or “Red Dragonfly”?

Priscilla wrote…

Hi, Lisa-

Love your website, especially the Japanese Children’s songs. Wondering if you could include the lyrics, melody, and sheet music for “Aka Tombo” Red Dragon Fly. Thank you,


If anyone can help with this song, please comment below or email me.



This article was posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2006 at 9:16 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Japan, Japanese, Japanese Kids Songs, Languages, Mama Lisa, Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “Is Anyone Familiar with the Japanese Children’s Song called “Aka Tombo” or “Red Dragonfly”?”

  1. DevonT Says:

    Here’s a page that has the sheet music, lyrics, and some links to the melody

    Here’s an English translation

    There is a great version of the song on the Putumayo Kids “Asian Dreamland” CD

    You can also download the song (for $.99).

  2. Lisa Says:

    Thanks for all the info Devon!

  3. Monique Says:

    This song in under copyright as the author of the lyrics, a famous poet, Miki Rofu (1889-1964) hasn’t been dead for more than 70 years.

  4. Lisa Says:

    Judy wrote:

    Lisa, there are singers on U-Tube. Just type in Aka Tonbo – search. You’ll hear beautiful songs and it’s even translated into English by an American singer (I think his name is Erwin – last name.) Also go to Google.


  5. Sara Says:

    I found the Japanese lyrics, romaji lyrics, and a great YouTube video that provides a great English translation of the lyrics!!

    Here’s the link to the video –>>


    Kanji lyrics:


    Romaji lyrics:

    Yūyake koyakeno akatonbo

    Owarete mitanowa itsunohika

    Yamano hatakeno kuwanomiwo

    Kokagoni tsundawa maboroshika

    Jyūgode nēyawa yomeni yuki

    Osatono tayorimo taehateta

    Yūyake koyakeno akatonbo

    Tomatteiruyo saonosaki

    English lyrics, translation by Japanese Folk Songs (YouTube channel) :

    Red dragonflies are flying in the sunset glow.

    I wonder when it was I saw them on someone’s back.

    We picked mulberries in the mountain field,

    and put them in a small basket, but I wonder if it was an illusion.

    The nursemaid who took care of me married and left when she was fifteen,

    and after that no news about her arrived from her hometown.

    Red dragonflies are flying in the sunset glow.

    One of them is now resting at the end of a pole.

  6. Shaun St. Clair Says:

    Original lyrics by Rufū Miki (1922)

    Music composed by Kosaku Yamada (1927)

    English lyrics by Hidekazu Morishima (2017)


    When was it I saw a dragonfly hoverin’ at dusk?

    The sun was down,
    and the sky was red.

    I was carried by a lass.


    Red mulberries on the hillside, red dragonflies there.

    Remains of the day were all red, was it all a dream that passed?…..


    {~10:14 P. M. (~21-v-2020 ) } s. j. s.

  7. Mariana Says:


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